If You Are New To Blogging, Expect A Learning Curve
Expect a learning curve as a new blogger. In my last post, Create a Blogging Plan, I present my personal plan for this blog. This plan is based on previous experience. If you are a new blogger, there will definitely be a learning curve.
Your plan will not look like my plan, but maybe that post will help to get some solid ideas flowing for your own plan.
A blogging plan helps keep you focused on your blog goals. It’s far better to take the time to create a real doable plan, than to let the ideas just roll around in your head. How can you expect to take your blog seriously and stay motivated and focused if you don’t even have a real plan for doing so?
For that post, I created a Blogging Plan Infographic to show the flow of my plan. Obviously, an infographic cannot reveal all of the details involved in the plan, but they keep me in sync with my blog goals.
You know how focused you are when you want to paint? Write a song? Create a haiku? Well, your blog needs the same attention to detail. It will be the hub of your entire world. It’s time to get focused on your “online home.”
As more and more people turn to online sources to shop and find answers to challenges in their lives, make it easy for them to find what you have to offer. Let your blog be the place where the world will come to meet you, get to know what your passions are, find your unique style, and yes — buy from you. This is where you will create raving fans! Your blog can be an impressive massive tool.
Now, don’t you think your blog, your online “home,” deserves your serious attention? I know, you just want to go create and focus on your passions… and you will. But your blog is where it will all come together for you. This is where you build credibility. This is where you create a following. Believe me, it’s worth the time, focus and effort! 🙂
We will be discussing some pretty general blogging rules that should be followed as “best practices.” Rules are in place to keep you focused and disciplined to reach your goals, not to take away from your freedom and creativity. The rules or guidelines are in place to shorten the learning curve, lead you quicker to online profits and increase your free time and creativity!
Blogging isn’t a new concept. It’s been around awhile now. As I review the important blogging steps to success, you will find that taking these steps is important no matter whether your blog is targeting business-to-consumers (B2C), business-to-business (B2B), or not-for-profit organizations (NFP) or perhaps you have identified your own personal audience.
Dealing With Fear of Change
Learning something new involves change. Change can be scary, but it needn’t be. When you have chosen to do something new, you should welcome the experience with open arms!
Your past does not define you so even if you have chosen to be a new blogger and you have tried things in the past that didn’t work out the way you wanted to, that’s no indication of how things will go in your future. It’s a new day!
After many years of business experience, I have a saying, “There are no mistakes, only experiences.” Or, if you prefer a quote from someone more famous —
“There are no mistakes in life, only lessons. There is no such thing as a negative experience, only opportunities to grow, learn and advance along the road of self-mastery. From struggle comes strength. Even pain can be a wonderful teacher.” Robin S. Sharma.
Going back to basics, we all want a more fulfilling life. That can’t happen without change. You must want a change or you wouldn’t be here. The happiest new bloggers from my experience are those that are appreciative of the life they currently have while making changes to ensure a brighter future.
You may have often seen the message online where you are encouraged to “Be your authentic self.” If we are to do that, we must be honest with ourselves, be human, and allow ourselves to feel whatever it is we are feeling. It’s okay, it’s part of this journey. Fear can actually tell you a great deal about yourself — if you let it.
An amazing blogger that I truly admire had something to say on this topic: “Fear is just a feeling after all, and you have the ability to respond to it in any way you choose, so instead of thinking of fear as an obstacle and putting all your energy into overcoming it, why not redefine it as energy for you to use to your advantage?” Are you intrigued? You can read the rest of Marquita Herald’s powerful post here.
Fear and doubt enter all new blogger’s minds. Don’t be surprised to find that sometimes it can resurface years later!
Therefore, it’s beneficial to learn how to stop fear in its tracks. Learn how to recognize it and deal with it while it is just a faint irritation in the back of your mind. Don’t let it take form and become a writhing powerful force you will spend too much time and effort dealing with.
What To Expect From Blogging When You’re New
There is one myth I would like to clear up right away. There’s a saying, “If it were easy, everyone would be doing it.” Since it seems literally everyone is blogging, it must be easy to blog and make money, right?
Keep in mind, different people have different reasons for blogging and sometimes it’s just a hobby, just like sketching or painting is to some. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with that.
But, if you are trying to build an online business and create financial freedom, you need to treat it like a business. Running a business is hard work and success does not come overnight despite some claims you may see online!
Being a creative individual, you probably find it very easy to be a visionary, a dreamer. It’s almost like a drug! It can be so addictive! We have to be able to access that creative center within easily and touch the god-like part of us in order to take that which is within and bring it outward for the world to see. This is a gift!
However, when it comes to daydreaming about your blog and your online success, we have to get back into reality and start where you are today. I know you aren’t dreaming of moderate success with your blog, you want raving fans today!
Any new endeavor has an adjustment period. You will be learning how to get links, blog readers, followers, comments, encourage social media sharing, how to recognize and fight spam, recognize what is important to you and your business and what’s not.
Many answers to questions about how to do something or when to do something, may not be straightforward like you’d like.
Sometimes, the answers will be so specific to you, your blog plan and goals, where you live, your target market and so on that no one can advise you. It may take researching and soul searching along the way to find the answers you seek.
Relax, don’t worry about making mistakes or making a fool out of yourself. We all experienced the learning curve as new bloggers. Just keep doing it, learning, growing, experiencing… it will get easier and you will get better!
Also, find other more experienced bloggers that you resonate with that are in your niche. Learn how they do things, what works for them and what doesn’t. See which topics and posts get the most comments.
Be ready to be a researcher, explorer, and self-starter. Have faith in your intelligence and instincts. You just may create an idea or find a direction to go in that others did not have the vision to see or the courage to travel.
This will involve a lot of hard work. Along with these things, it’s important, too, that you enjoy what you are writing about!
Blogging takes skill. That means, the more you do it and don’t give up, the better blogger you will become. I think it’s very important to have realistic expectations so that you have a clear understanding right from the beginning.
It is only logical that your blog will grow and develop in direct response to your blogging efforts and motivation. Other factors, such as your chosen niche and your physical location, may come into play as well. Since you, your life experience, and your goals are unique, so will your results be.
Always maintain and assess your blog. By monitoring what’s going on with your site, you will notice trends and patterns, what’s working and what isn’t. Then you will be able to determine when and where your time and dollars will best be spent.
Now that we have created realistic expectations and have the proper mindset, let’s go over some tasks you need to perform in order to create a solid foundation for blogging your way to financial freedom.
In conclusion, here is a list of important tasks to consider and complete before you seriously start to blog:
- Check laws and regulations for businesses in your state and city. Are you allowed to operate an online business at the location you have chosen, such as your home? Do you need to charge sales taxes on the products you are selling?
- Most businesses fail in the first year. The main reason is they don’t have enough start-up capital and are underfunded. Fortunately, blogging can minimize your costs compared to other start-ups but don’t expect true profitability for a couple of years. Each blog is different but don’t expect to blog for a month and earn a full-time living from it. It takes time, planning, consistency and hard work.
- Create a formal business entity. I used to do the entire process myself and season businesses and sell them. Now, I keep it simple. I use LegalZoom since my businesses are not too complex. You will have to research to see which entity type serves your purposes best. By choosing an entity other than a sole proprietorship, if anyone decides to sue you, you will have certain protection in place to protect your personal assets. LegalZoom makes the process pretty simple.
- Set up an EIN. Research and find a competent attorney or tax planner to decide to set up an Employer Identification Number or EIN for your business rather than using your Social Security Number (SSN) depending on which type of business entity you have created. It is not necessary to have employees to file for an EIN. This can help you keep your SSN more private.
- Set up a separate business checking account. Do not co-mingle personal funds and business funds. Your accountant will thank you!
- Find a competent Tax Professional. Track literally everything right from the start. As a business owner in the US, you will need tax planning. Find a competent professional that understands your industry. Keep good records! Track all profits and expenses. Watching how the money flows in and out of your bank account will teach you what’s really going on in your business so you can take control!
- Stick to your budget. When the funds start coming in, take responsibility for paying taxes (or setting the funds aside), refer to your budget for marketing, hosting, etc. You may be tempted to just spend it, but that won’t get you where you’re trying to go. I know you have home and living expenses but at first, you need to reinvest the funds into your business and education.
- Blogging is a journey not a destination. Blogging will be like running a marathon, not sprinting to the finish line. It will take discipline, training, conditioning and stamina.
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